Thursday, October 11, 2007

National Coming Out Day (and some numbers)

Local gay & lesbian activists and their straight friends gathered today at high noon, at the Patterson/Jefferson intersection near US 35 for a "National Coming Out Day" (as there is Arbor Day, Take Your Dog To Work Day, etc, there is also a National Coming Out Day).

The purpose was to unveil their new billboard, which you see in the background. There was speeches by the minister of Cross Creek Community Church ( in Centerville), Diversity Dayton, and others.

A good question is how many gays and lesbians are there?

Counting Queers:

I usually don't do sociology, but maybe one can arrive at some guesses as to the number.

First, the census doesn’t count this, but it does count how many adult males and females are in Montgomery County. Gays and lesbians would be a subset of this number.

The census also counts the number of same-sex partner households. One can assume that some percentage, probably a large percentage, are gay and lesbian. That’s about as firm the number gets.

Second, how does one define gay and lesbian? The diagram below shows how I define it, which is if one calls oneself that that's what one is....with varying degrees of gay identity (which would increase or decrease depending on how tolerant or accepting the society). The outer limits…that dashed line circle…is probably around 10-15% based on some surveys.

Another assumption is that out-of-the-closet gay and lesbian people are going to self-ID on surveys.

....and there are some surveys out there (doing some googling on it) that do ask the question. This gives a range of percentages.

I take averages of the surveys and arrive at male, female, high, and low numbers, and the "CNN Exit Poll"(a large, recent sample) for combined genders.

I then apply them to the Montgomery County adult population, and arrive at ranges of numbers. I then compare them with the same sex partner numbers as a test.

The ranges for out gays& lesbians in Montgomery County are:

Lower: 4,047

Mid: 8,171

Higher: 13,139

The higher range of 8,171 to 13,139 seems reasonable...2.1% to 4% of the adult population that are out enough to self-ID. This puts the size of the local G/L population at larger than, say, Germantown, Brookville, or Yellow Springs.

Another test is to compare with census numbers for Never Married. The census counts the numbers of males and females that have never married for various age cohorts, for Montgomery County. I lay in some of the above percentages as a comparison:

Obviously, more younger unmarried people. But what about the older age cohorts. One expect some (not all) of these folks to be either gay or lesbian. And the older cohorts hover right around the % ranges identified above:
The Billboard.

And now we have this billboard:

The gay rights fight was fought and lost (by the gays) here 8 years ago. Is the groundwork being laid for another attempt? And is that even politically feasible given the assumed low numbers for out gays and lesbians in Montgomery County?


Next, mapping the same sex households.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I like to read your blog due to your fascinating urban history and the effort you've taken to look at the development of various neighborhoods. However, I'm unclear about what your argument or agenda is with the slant of your Coming Out Day report. Maybe I haven't been reading long enough to understand your political ideology, but it almost would have been better to state it more obviously, even if a segment of your readers would have disagreed with you. As it is, you've left it so vague that both sides might assume you're siding against them.